Are millennials choosing to live in smaller, more convenient ways because they suit our modern requirements? Or are we being forced to live in this way because we have no choice? Throughout history the home has shaped the way in which we have been perceived. From temples to chateaux the home has been a symbol of status since man first compared caves.
Many of us are coming to terms with the fact that it is no longer possible to meet the same living standards that we have both been set by our parent’s generation. This benchmark we subconsciously set for ourselves is engrained deep into our DNA and we are in danger of falling short of the mark. Residential accommodation is too expensive for the average millennial to consider buying, with average prices in developed world tier one cities reflecting over 10x the average family earnings.
However, this is the experience economy, and instant gratification is something that comes naturally to this generation. As a result, instead of changing our standard of living, we rent, that which we both can’t afford, nor really want to live in, but accept that this is our fate and embrace it nevertheless. We consequently adapt our living patterns- why spend time at home in a small cramped environment when you can spend time out. Are we choosing to live this way because we want to be out, experiencing life, or because we are forced to do so because home is so unbearable we can hardly stand to stay in it more than to sleep and eat breakfast (if you’re lucky).
That is not to say that there aren’t numerable benefits to the way in which we now live. A millennials apartment block in 2016 has all the benefits and functionality of a hotel. Access to cinema rooms, yoga studios and sky lounges are benefits that were once limited to the elites of yesteryear, or for special occasions when you went on holiday once or twice a year. Now we get to live this life daily. A roman emperor or British Monarch could only dream of such an existence.
This coupled with the fact that we now, more than ever, dictate our own schedules and are progressively more globalised means that liberating ourselves from a cumbersome and fiscally draining 3-4 bed house in the suburbs is seen as a positive choice. When others can pander to your every need- from cooking for you, to washing your clothes to keeping you fit- why would we want to waste time and resource preserving this notion of ‘home’ as a necessary evil of the middle class when we can create a world that is conveniently orientated around our every need every moment of the day. Time will only tell whether this sociodemographic shift will have a negative impact on general happiness and well-being of Millennials. I for one will enjoy the journey.